December 26, 2021 Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit

Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit

Dec 26, 2021




Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. [1]


This passage has caused much consternation with some people. Some fear that they have committed this sin and our Lord’s words indicate that it is impossible to be forgiven of this sin. Thus, some feel as if there may be no hope for them.


First, can we rejoice in the first words from this passage? Jesus said, “every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people!” Every! I find that very comforting! Think of some of the vile things that you have done in your life that dishonored God. All of them can be forgiven!


How do we receive forgiveness? We must be clear about that. Forgiveness for our sins can only come through the Lord Jesus Christ. It cannot be received through Mohammed. It cannot come through Buddha. It cannot come through Krishna. It cannot even come through Moses. Jesus said:


“I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.”[2]


We must believe who Christ is, the divine Son of God, and we must trust in what he accomplished. That is, that he died to take away the sins of his people and that he rose from the dead.


Trusting in the Person of Christ means we trust him as both Lord and Savior. We repent. That means we agree with God against ourselves that we are rebels and sinners. We renounce sin and commit to follow Christ. When a person trusts in Christ and repents they receive the forgiveness of every sin they have ever committed! That is good news. It is the best news!

But wait. Jesus went on to say: “but the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit will not be        forgiven.”


What is blasphemy? Blasphemy is speaking evil of God. So, blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is speaking evil about the Holy Spirit. Jesus said this because the Pharisees had said that Jesus was casting out demons by the power of Beelzebub, or the devil (vs. 24).


This is understandable. But, what Jesus says next can be bewildering:


And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. [3]


How is it that a person can blaspheme Christ and be forgiven but if they speak evil of the Holy Spirit they will not be forgiven? Is it because the majesty of the Holy Spirit is greater than the majesty of Christ. This is impossible:


For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,[4]


The “him” there is Christ. The fullness of God dwells in Christ! So, it cannot be that the Holy Spirit is greater or more important than the Lord Jesus. Therefore, if it is not their Persons that are different, then it must be their work that is different. Indeed, this is the case. Each Person of the divine Trinity has a unique role. Regarding salvation:


“The love of the Father is the source, the grace of the Son is the expression, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit is the transmission, transmitting the grace of the Son, with the love of the Father, into us.”[5]


As the Holy Spirit applies the love of the Father and the grace of Christ into us, those who express their disdain for the Spirit’s work thereby exclude themselves from receiving it. Without the Spirit applying the merits of Christ to us there is no forgiveness.


Too, there is the matter of awareness. The Pharisees were seeing miracles performed by the power of the Spirit, in this case demonic expulsion. Their interpretation of this power was that they attributed it to the devil. But Jesus shows them that this is not possible. Actually, the evidence of the Spirit’s work was obvious and their attribution of it was a sham. It was a cover for their rebellious hearts.


Of course, a Christian cannot commit this sin because they have the Holy Spirit living within them and they love the Triune God. Indeed, if anyone who professes faith in Christ and, afterwards, blasphemes the Holy Spirit, this is prima facie evidence that they have not been born again. They would need to seek genuine salvation.


However, some Christians lived an exceptionally corrupt life prior to their coming to Christ and may have spoken evil of the Holy Spirit. If they had then they may have serious concerns now whether they will ever be forgiven.


A moment ago I brought to your attention that there was something unique about the situation by which Jesus makes this fearful pronouncement. That is, there was an awareness of the Holy Spirit’s operation in the miracles of Jesus. Not only did he release people under the control of demons, he also healed many who had debilitating physical ailments. The life of Jesus was a powerful, conspicuous, and recognizable manifestation of the work of the Spirit. It was so powerful and conspicuous that it has not been seen since the days of the apostles. You may remember that the apostles, such as Peter and Paul, did the same miracles that Jesus did. They rose people from the dead and Peter healed a man who was lame from birth. I believe miracles still occur at the hands of disciples today, but not in the same measure as those of Jesus and the apostles. Therefore, it is doubtful that this sin can even be committed in this age, because the reality of the Holy Spirit, as known by his work, is not as clear and recognizable as it was in the ministry of the Lord Jesus.


A person may, prior to being saved, have said evil things about the Holy Spirit, but they would not have had any certainty about even the existence of the Holy Spirit, let alone his presence in any modern day situation. So, many well-respected Bible expositors take the position that this sin cannot be committed in this age. I am inclined in this direction, as well. But, just as we cannot be certain about the reality of the Holy Spirit before we are saved, I do not think we can be certain about this sin not being possible now.


Let us say that it is. What will happen to the Christian who has committed it? Before we answer that question I would like to mention one other explanation that one will come across in the explanation of our Lord’s pronouncement. One will read or hear that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is just an expression for a refusal to repent. In other words, some will say that if a person resists the Holy Spirit until they die then they will have no forgiveness. Of course, that part of it is true: if any person resists the Holy Spirit their entire life and then dies, they have no forgiveness. They never will. But that is not what Jesus said. He identified a specific sin; blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.


More, if a person does not repent in this life they will not have forgiveness of any sin, not just the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit cannot be equated with a refusal to repent.


By the Lord’s grace we come to our question: If the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit can still be committed and if a Christian committed it before they were saved, will they ever be forgiven?


In order to answer this question we ought to have at least a preliminary understanding of the ages.

See again what Jesus said:


And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. [6]


Are there only two ages left? This one and the next? No. There will be more than one age to come:


even when we were dead in our trespasses, [God] made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.[7]


Notice that verse 7 says that there are coming ages, plural, yet to be. The next age will be the Millennium. After that will be the New Heavens and the New Earth.


If a disciple of the Lord had committed this sin (and that is doubtful) then the worst thing that will happen is that they will have to wait until the Millennium is over before they have forgiveness of that one sin.


How can the words of our Lord help us today?


There is an application for the lost and for the one who is already a disciple. And these applications are not much different.


If you have not yet fled to Christ for salvation from your sin and its consequences, do not tarry. Do not put it off. Until you do give your life to the Lord Jesus, speak honorably about the Holy Spirit! Take the Lord’s words to heart. Take them as a dire warning. Even in your worst days, your worst hours, when everything seems to be going wrong, do not succumb to the temptation of speaking evil of the Holy Spirit. For that matter, never speak evil of the Lord Jesus nor the Father. Rather, speak well of them!


Do not forget the Holy Spirit is a Person! As a Person he has emotions. He can be grieved. He can be offended. Speak well of the Holy Spirit. Speak well of Christ!


To disciples, I say this: Our words matter! The things we say make a difference! All disciples honor the Father. All disciples honor the Son. We need to honor the Spirit as well!


How can we honor him? Most simply, we can honor him the same way we honor the Lord Jesus. We speak well of the Spirit.


I think it is easy for a disciple to fall into the same error that the Pharisees fell into. Not that any disciple would ever speak evil of the Holy Spirit, but that they might dismiss the work of the Holy Spirit as the work of men. We must be open to the Spirit’s working in our age!


Another way that we can honor the Spirit is by fleeing sin. When we are tempted to sin, the Holy Spirit is not inactive. He will prompt us to the danger that lurks in every sin. He will enliven our conscience to identify the sin and to take measures to flee from it. Honor the Spirit by heeding his promptings! Honor the Spirit by obeying the Spirit!


We can honor the Triune God by speaking well of each Person and we can honor the Triune God by obeying Him!


The more we honor the Living God the greater will be our reward in the next age. As we honor the Spirit, we will see the honor that we tend to give ourselves become less. We will give honor to Whom honor is due and find ourselves changed in the process!


This week, honor the Holy Spirit. You can make a better commitment than that. Can you resolve to make the year 2022 the year that you honor the Triune God in a greater and more faithful way than you ever have?


You can!




[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 12:31–32). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Jn 8:24). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[3] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 12:32). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[4] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Col 2:9). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[5] Witness Lee, Truth Lessons, Level One, Message Two (Living Stream Ministry, Anaheim, CA) Regarding comments on 2 Cor. 13;14.

[6] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mt 12:32). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[7] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Eph 2:5–7). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.